Guantanamo prisoners continue their hunger strike while clashes go on at the Guantanamo Bay jail as inmates protest against indefinite detentions – for some over eleven years! A damming report has now been released and hit the headlines of news media in the USA. This is, “The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment” report, the investigation made by an independent, politically-across-the-board, blue-ribbon panel that was charged with examining the federal government’s policies and actions as related to the capture, detention and treatment of suspected terrorists during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.

The hunger strike is a last resort protest against indefinite detentions at the Guantanamo Bay military prison, and is now into its third month. Guards most recently clashed with detainees after attempting to move them out of their communal living quarters into single-cell rooms. There was some problem with them having a personal copy of the Qu’ran!

This investigative project was undertaken with the belief that it was important to provide an account as authoritative and accurate as possible of how the United States of America treated, and continues to treat, people held in custody as the nation was mobilized to deal with what was seen as a global terrorist threat.

On taking office in 2009, President Obama declined to undertake or commission an official study of what happened, saying it was unproductive to “look backwards”.

Senator Leahy introduced legislation to establish an independent commission to look into the USA’s behaviour following the 9/11 attacks, but Congress did not pick it up. Human Rights Watch has it that “this Task Force report is the examination of the treatment of suspected terrorists that official Washington has been reluctant to conduct.”

Further: “Although the investigation proceeded without the advantages of subpoena power or access to classified information, we believe it is the most comprehensive record of detainee treatment across multiple administrations and multiple geographic theatres yet published.”

The military handles the situation at Guantanamo under orders from the highest strata and with the support of the political powers – from the president down – to forbid reporters on the island, cuddle up to the Red Cross (ICRC) only to conduct violent raids on detainees as soon as their officials leave, and to violently force-feed hunger-striking detainees against all medical ethics and protocols.

Guantanamo is a governmental atrocity that continues today, as an associated programed stemming from raids of the Emergency Reaction Force (ERF), which troops forcibly remove detainees from their cells while beating them. On top of the violence done to body and spirit by chaining the men, they are also submitting them to sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, forced drugging, and subjecting them to interrogations according to an Army Field Manual that is condemned for human rights abuse by human rights group everywhere.

The report is making waves because it makes it explicit that after September 11, 2001 attack, the intelligence officers and military forces practiced torture.

The bipartisan group of former officials and academics reviewed USA detention and rendition practices and has concluded that the USA interrogators committed torture while questioning detainees, yet there is no proof that torture brought forth to the authorities any information preventing future attacks. Further, seasoned interrogators have confirmed the report finding that harsh interrogation techniques were ineffective and there was no rational for their use, whether practical or moral.

Detainee Ghaleb Al-Bihani had issued on April 15 a statement from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) by his Senior Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei about the hunger strike and his experience of a forced move to solitary confinement, as follows:

“Rather than deal with the reasons for the hunger strike – the immediate trigger of the searching of Qu’rans and the long-term desperation caused by more than 11 years of indefinite detention without charge or trial – the government responded over the weekend by escalating violence and retaliation. Rounding up the men in pre-dawn raids and forcing them into single cells is consistent with other tactics the government is using to pressure men to break the strike as well as to stem the flow of information out of the prison. If the men are kept from one another, they cannot report on the situation as a whole to their attorneys and the only means available to tell their side of the story is cut off.

“I spoke with my client, Ghaleb Al-Bihani, one of the men on hunger strike, on Friday. When we met at Guantanamo last week, he had lost over 40 pounds and was visibly weak. On the phone, he sounded muted. He told me that he had been forcibly moved from Camp 6, the communal camp where he had been held for years, to Camp 5, a solitary confinement facility, a few days before. He said it was worse in Camp 5 “because of the MPs.” The “MPs” – military police – are the guards used to maintain “order” in the camps, including by forcibly, physically extracting hunger strikers from their cells for force-feeding.

“When I asked Ghaleb why he had been forcibly moved, he said it was because he had spoken out about conditions in the camps. The week before, he had given me a declaration to use in the case of another man, Musa’ab Al Madhwani, who has filed an emergency motion about the withholding of clean drinking water from hunger strikers. A federal court in Washington is hearing arguments in that case today.

“The forced move, my client said, was because “I spoke to you about Musa’ab’s problem.” He has stayed in his cell since to avoid confrontation with the MPs. He said he didn’t feel comfortable telling me more about the situation in the camps over the phone. He is worried about retaliation.

“Instead of pre-dawn raids, violence, brutal force-feeding and withholding safe drinking water, the administration should direct its energy to closing the prison by appointing an official to lead the effort forward and releasing the men it never intends to charge, beginning with the 86 men the administration has itself approved for transfer. There is no more time to waste by pointing fingers and laying blame. President Obama can and should act on his promise to close the prison and finally turn the page on this dark chapter of history.”

…../press release ends